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Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  455 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Oh, boy—obento! These yummy, healthy lunches are all the rage in Japan, where mothers create them as expressions of love for their children. With Yum-Yum Bento Box, Crystal Watanabe and Maki Ogawa devote an entire cookbook to these delicious and adorable meals for all ages! Learn how to craft your favorite foods into a variety of shapes—from caterpillars, cars, and puppy d ...more
Kindle Edition, 144 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Quirk Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  455 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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I'm familiar with Bento and expected to see 12 ingredients used in tiny amounts and arranged in an artistic way. Completely expected that.

What I was expected was something besides colored rice and pieces of nori. This book was more of a design manual that a recipe idea, which is fine...just not what I expected. I thought this book would include a wider variety of food and give me ideas of healthy lunches to pack for school. Instead, it's little snacks with pink rice, 2 pieces of cheese, a raisi
May 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a person who cooks vegan, many omnivorous cook books aren't helpful to me. This cookbook (which pretty accurately reflects current Japanese trends in bento) uses a lot of meat and cheese. Of course, the vegan/vegetarian industry is ever growing and thus more and more meat, egg, and dairy substitutes exist. However, I'm not interested in eating those products. Yes, I *could* buy vegan deli 'meat' and follow the recipes located in this book, but I'm more interested in using the decoration and p ...more
I picked this up out of curiosity at my local public library. I admit I mostly took it because of the photos; the book has excellent photography. However, the recipes are not exactly easy to make, and for some folks, you may have to put in some extra work to shop for some of the ingredients which your local grocery store may lack. If you have a bit of an artistic bent and like cooking, you may like this book. However, it is a nice one to look at. The book does include a glossary and list of plac ...more
Very cute ideas for children's lunches or for anyone who loves kuwaii bento. This one had a few more recipes for actual, home-cooked food to include but was mostly focused on creating cute foodscapes. Since I'm not very interested in adding food-coloring to my meals or cutting animal ears and noses out of lunchmeat or fish cakes, this was a picture book for me.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part of my new eating healthy kick, some small portions (so variety, yay!) fast to make recipes. pLUS ALL OF THE CUTE THINGS!! I'm less happy about the cute then I am about the easy and the fast, but still yay.
Sep 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Certainly fun to look at, but more difficult than I hoped. Who has quail eggs on hand?!
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking
I wasn't a big fan of this book. Maybe the recipes would be good for picky children, but they contain a bit too much processed meat and ketchup for my tastes. Plus if you wanted to recreate the bentos as presented in the book, be prepared to flip around to a lot of pages to get all the recipes. In some cases, the photographs make the food look unappetizing, because fried things appear undercooked. I'm not sure it spent any time on food safety either, such as washing any hole punches or other non ...more
This really was a visually beautiful little book, full of ideas and creativity. Making these happy little lunches for my daughter sounds like a lot of fun...but also a lot of work. The one thing I really loved was the variety of veggies and fruit, made to look so cute and appetizing. Portion sizes in America are astronomical, so this was an adorable way to get kids to eat.

Now just to find the time.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, food
This is a cute, simple guide to making bento boxes. Even if you don't want to put this much time and effort into your child (or yours!) lunch, there are some really good, easy recipes in here to take advantage of, and, at the least, some additional lunch ideas.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I can't imagine going to so much effort for so little nutritional value. Obviously these bento boxes are for kids, but even in elementary school I wouldn't have had enough to eat with these. Half a slice of cheese; two or three small rice balls with nori faces; three tiny broccoli florets and a cherry tomato. No, don't think so. There are a few recipes that are useful, but I wonder how kids would react to finding fresh sage rolled up in the middle of two whole ounces of breaded chicken breast.

Angela Holtz
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From Lilac Wolf and Stuff

I wanted this book for so long, but I have to admit I didn't think it was anything I'd be able to pull off. I still haven't tried anything yet, but the difference is now I think I can.

They break down lots of recipes to make these cute little bento lunches. They go into the history a bit, and all the tools of the trade. Then they give cost cutting ideas to get the same effect without having to buy a whole new kitchen. Crystal and Maki also encourage creativity and use of
Sep 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recipes
Well, it is an interesting book. Mainly focused on putting cute things together though, I'm not sure it's entirely practical. I certainly don't have enough time to spend hours arranging rice into specific shapes & coloring it with dyes and so on.

Personally I was looking for a more practical book. Presentation is a big thing with bentos & I certainly want mine to look nice (I'm just starting by the way, pretty much a noob) but it still has to fit within a reasonable amount of time.

Also I
Samantha Arias
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking
I really liked this book even though I'm vegan and most if not all the recipes in this book aren't. But if your vegan like me, don't disrepair because this can easily be made vegan using mock meats and soy cheese. For a vegetarian, you wouldn't have to change too much seeing as there are lots of cheese and egg items. The main reason I bought the book was to get ideas on how to make cute packed lunches for both me and others. While most of the lunches would take a good chunk of time to complete, ...more
Dec 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The photos in this book are ADORABLE! The directions are LEATHAL! I almost cut my hand off trying to shape a goldfish out of a carrot! Perfectionists beware!!!!If you have the time and patience some of these are very cute to do. Mostly colored rice receipes. Very disappointed as far as ingrediants. I definately expected a lot more for a Bento Box title. The only real blessing this book has had is to inspire my toddler to get excited about eating rice. I recommend it as a saturday afternoon treat ...more
Lauren Pickering
Very cute designs and a lot of cute and easy recipes to try! The pictures were colorful and artfully arranged. My favorite part of the book however is the section that lists and describes the different tools and objects that would be useful in creating these boxed lunches. Have tried a few of these recipes and they are all reasonable time-wise. The penguin onigiri are my favorite to make and were rather easy to assemble between waking up in the morning and heading off to school (about 10-20min a ...more
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This book would be better titled _Yum-Yum Bento Box: ALL YOUR FOOD NEEDS FACES_. Special occasion food? Okay! Some of these recipes and... setups? would be great little snacks for a kids' party, but I have a very hard time seeing myself embellishing food this way. I'd rather practice my sushi-rolling skills than coloring rice or artfully slicing bologna into octopuses. I also found the five pages of tools and accessories to be a little overwhelming.
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book a while ago. I had never tried bento before but it looked like a cute way to get my picky 4 year old to eat healthier. I will admit most of the things in this book take longer to make than a normal lunch but my daughter loves getting a cute little bento box for lunch. It's more of a special occasion thing but none the less it does do what I had hoped it would do. She eats veggies and likes them! There are so many cute little ideas and awesome tips in this book.
Jun 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My kids have loved the few lunches I have made so far using this as a guide. Cute helpful tips like cook the carrots before you cut them, how to make checkerboard apples and sweetheart sushi Love the penguins.
Couldn't do it every day but a nice way to say I love you to kids while they are away at school for lunch. Clever and creative.
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super cute but not very practical. They mention nutrition and their food pyramid which sounds reasonable, but then in many of the lunches the only protein is a couple specks of bologna cut out for bunny ears. Also, most of the proteins are bologna or hot dogs. Would love to see a version of this book with ideas that focus more on healthy lunches with much more modest design elements.
Oct 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
I loved this book. I don't actually think that I am crafty enough to do this but these ideas are so cute. Even if you aren't packing a bento box you could make cute sandwiches and snacks with the ideas in this book.
I love making beautiful lunches and this little book had some cute inspirations. I may not necessarily use the same items, but I love looking through here and thinking about how to personalize my own lunch box.
R.K. Syrus
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is it art? Is it food? It's both! and Hella better than what's at the school cafeteria--is ketchup still a vegetable?

Really nicely illustrated if you think you'd like to try Bento Boxing, this is your guide!
Jul 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bento is just not my thing (too much work!) but if you are interested in starting Bento, this is a really good book to read. Gives you a run down on basic materials, lots of healthy recipes with complete instructions on making the characters and figures. Very cute :)
Jenny Houle
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glad it's in my library...sad that I may never love myself enough to put the kind of effort in that is required to make these LOL.

Honestly, though, if I ever have to pack lunches for kids, it'd be a cute thing to keep on hand. And I totally get why parents in other countries do this.
Jessica Lowery
Cute lunches for the kids! Recipes and inspiration abound.
I dont bento much anymore because I'm not motivated to wake up and cook fresh food, but every once in a while it's fun to have a lunch that amuses and tastes really good.
Alicia Reardon
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very cute and easy to put together bento lunches. They made the instructions easy to follow and understand!
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, far-away-places
Super Cute food and pretty doable.
Aug 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very quick read. Well, more of a browse really. I had hoped it would have more basic bento recipes. Still, good inspiration for more fun bentos! Lovely pictures, too. ...more
Jamie Mauldin
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super cute! I plan on trying to veganize some of these later. :)
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A freelance indie editor since 2014, I've edited more than 125 short stories and 30 novels. With an interest in science fiction and fantasy, middle-grade fiction, and young adult, I'm proud to assist my authors in fine-tuning their stories and helping them share them with the world.